The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Man (and woman) law

By Matt Homer

Utah boasts an annoying set of unwritten dating rules that are vigorously enforced by old-fashioned parents, provincial attitudes and gender-biased ideologies. As students, we have lived by these rules long enough. We have stomached too many gut-wrenching dates and thrown away hordes of cash. It is time to tear off the shackles.

What is Utah’s most important dating rule? Put simply, it’s that men must be in control of the dating process. They make the initial contact and all subsequent phone calls and then plan and pay for every date. Women follow passively.

This unequal relationship results in a host of unnecessary problems for both women and men.

The first is increased expectations. Money is scarce for most students, so guys who pay to take a woman on a date are making a significant (and risky) investment. Rarely do they ask a woman for a date with the intention of just becoming friends.

Since women are not making a monetary commitment, they may go on a date with a guy for reasons other than romantic interest. Maybe they just want to make a new friend. Whatever the reason, more often than not, women and men are on different pages from the very beginning.

These dating rules limit women’s ability to direct their dating lives, and they also frustrate men. How can such a cumbersome challenge be overcome?

First, anyone should feel free to ask anyone else on a date. Women shouldn’t feel shy to express their interest or even take the initiative in asking out a guy.

Second, it’s OK for both people to pay for themselves. Doing so decreases the stress on both parties and increases a woman’s bargaining power. When both people are paying, they are on the same page right from the beginning. If you choose to change that arrangement in the future, it’s fine, but starting at this point will ensure that men don’t get overzealous and women aren’t in it for the free stuff.

Third, both women and men should be actively involved in the process. Both people should feel comfortable calling each other and suggesting future plans, and no one should be in charge of the other person.

Fourth, speak your mind. Feel free to say “no” or tell the other person it’s really not worth his or her effort. This may create some initial offense, but it’s better than stringing someone along.

Above all, rejecting the rules of dating means creating an equal relationship, one in which women and men are both free to express interest and take initiative. It may sound simple, but in Utah, it’s a radical idea; and there’s no better place to start than at the university.

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